You are here: Home » International » News » Companies
Business Standard

TikTok tells US lawmakers it does not give information to China's govt

Senators at the hearing also voiced concerns that TikTok and rivals YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc , and Snapchat have algorithms that can be harmful to young people

Topics
TikTok | ByteDance | China

Diane Bartz & Sheila Dang | Reuters  |  Washington 

Tik tok
Beckerman said TikTok would be willing to provide the app's algorithm moderation policies in order for the Senate panel to have it reviewed by independent experts.

An executive at faced tough questions on Tuesday during the video-sharing app's first appearance at a US congressional hearing, saying it does not give information to the Chinese government and has sought to safeguard US data.

Senators at the hearing also voiced concerns that TikTok, owned by Beijing-based internet technology company ByteDance, and rivals YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc , and Snapchat have algorithms that can be harmful to young people.

Michael Beckerman, TikTok's head of public policy for the Americas, became the company's first executive to appear before Congress, testifying to a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. Republicans in particular pressed Beckerman on worries regarding TikTok's stewardship of data on the app's users.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, the panel's top Republican, said she is concerned about TikTok's data collection, including audio and a user's location, and the potential for the Chinese government to gain access to the information. Blackburn questioned Beckerman on whether could resist giving data to China's government if material were to be demanded.

"We do not share information with the Chinese government," Beckerman responded.

Under questioning by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Beckerman said that has "no affiliation" with Beijing Technology, a entity at which the Chinese government took a stake and a board seat this year.

Beckerman also testified that TikTok's U.S. user data is stored in the United States, with backups in Singapore.

"We have a world-renowned U.S. based security team that handles access," Beckerman said.

Republican Senator John Thune said TikTok is perhaps more driven by content algorithms than even Facebook, as the app is famous for quickly learning what users find interesting and offering them those types of videos.

Beckerman said TikTok would be willing to provide the app's algorithm moderation policies in order for the Senate panel to have it reviewed by independent experts.

Executives from YouTube and Snapchat also testified. In a show of bipartisanship, senators of both parties, including Democratic panel chairman Richard Blumenthal, accused the three of exposing young people to bullying and sometimes steering them to information that encouraged harmful behaviors such sexualized games or anorexia.

The executives responded that their have sought to create a fun experience and to exclude dangerous or unsavory content.

Republican former President Donald Trump had sought to bar TikTok - a popular platform used by millions of Americans to post short videos - from U.S. app stores, saying it collected data from American users that could be obtained by China's government and posed a threat to U.S. national security.

Democratic President later revoked Trump's plan, but sought a broader review of various foreign-controlled apps.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Wed, October 27 2021. 01:28 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.